Your college or university years can be some of the most rewarding and challenging of your life – personally, socially and academically. If you don’t employ certain academic and personal strategies or take care of your health, postsecondary can even become overwhelming, leading to stress, social struggles and even academic failure.
Take steps to ensure your postsecondary experience is nothing but positive. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Join a Student Activity
Student activities and clubs are a great way to get involved in your school community. They provide enrichment, chances for personal and social growth and resume-worthy experience. Plus, you can engage in activities that fit your interests or existing hobbies, or take advantage of an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. You could try a new sport that’s more physically demanding or take part in an activity that’s mentally challenging. The student association or council can also put you closer to school happenings, including student-led initiatives and associations, campus events, other student activities and general campus life.
Take Care of Yourself
Surprisingly, personal care is perhaps the most essential component for postsecondary success. College or university can be stressful, and stress can be hard on your physical and mental health. It can lead to headaches, sluggishness, depression, anxiety, anxiousness, high blood pressure and so much more. These health problems can make it difficult, if not impossible, to perform well academically. Therefore, you should take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. This includes:
- Exercising at least three to four days a week
- Eating as healthily as possible, e.g. choosing healthy meals, keeping healthy snacks in your room or suite and opting for healthier food options at restaurants
- Avoiding substance abuse and cigarette smoking
- Taking breaks, especially when studying or doing homework
- Avoiding caffeine and any performance-enhancing substances
- Engaging in healthy, protective sexual behaviours
- Forming and maintaining healthy relationships
- Seeking counseling when needed, especially when you feel overwhelmed
- Getting enough sleep and going to bed and waking up at reasonable times and at relatively the same times every day
- Maintaining a reasonable work and course load
Be Diligent with the Learning Process
Learning is a latent process, but it can be enhanced if you’re diligent and take a proactive approach. Being proactive is essential to academic success because it involves activities that reinforce learning. For example, taking notes during class and while studying can make it easier to retain and recall information. Activities like this extend learning outside the classroom. However, there’s even more that you can do to extend and enhance the learning process, including:
- Writing important tasks and due dates in your planner
- Creating and following a weekly to-do list and/or schedule
- Completing priority tasks and assignments first
- Using study aids, such as flashcards, etc.
- Joining a study group or getting a ‘study buddy’
- Studying and/or completing assignments in a quiet environment, e.g. using the study lounge
- Taking breaks while studying or breaks in general
- Breaking large projects up into small steps or milestones
- Learning and practicing effective time management
- Adding short-term and long-term academic goals to your planner
- Taking comprehensive notes, participating in class discussions and asking questions when needed
Ask for Help When You Need It
It’s no secret that postsecondary requires hard work. But so much hard work can quickly become overwhelming. In fact, it’s common for students to be overworked and stressed out, especially when they don’t plan well or take on a heavy course load. This can lead to a mountain of problems that many students don’t know how to deal with on their own. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, sad or anything else, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Most schools offer plenty of helpful resources. For example, you could visit the student support centre for academic help, ask your student advisor for advice, check boards for help finding housing or a job or visit the student health services for physical or mental health concerns. You could also call home and talk to your friends or family when you need personal or even financial support. Remember, the healthier you are and the more supported you are, the better you will perform in school.
Take the first step to a successful postsecondary experience – book your place in our awesome St. Catharine’s student housing today!